A Smart Traveller's Guide to Currency in Lithuania
An off-the-beaten-path destination, Lithuania delivers a beautiful balance of stunning natural beauty and charming towns. You’ll soon find yourself wandering down the cobblestone streets of the capital Vilnius and winding your way through the country’s famous green forests.
You’re in for a treat in Lithuania but to get more out of your stay, it’s always handy to be savvy about your money options. This guide will give you a total rundown of all things money-related in Lithuania, from the best currency exchange options to how to pay for things.
You’re set to find out:
- The official currency of Lithuania
- The pros and cons of using a bank card in Lithuania
- What the Lithuanian Euro looks like
- The average costs of things in Lithuania
- How the euro converts
- What to do with leftover euros
- How to exchange the currency in Lithuania
- Some hot tips to help you save money
- How to buy Euros before you leave
What Currency is Used in Lithuania
Lithuania is one of the most recent countries to join the eurozone – the collection of European countries using the euro.
This Baltic country replaced its old currency – Lithuanian litas (LTL) – with euros on 1 January 2015. Litas banknotes and coins can still be exchanged at the Lietuvos bankas (Bank of Lithuania) at a fixed rate of one lita to €0.29.
The euro is universally represented by the sign € and the currency code EUR. As with many other European countries, Lithuanians often write their prices with the symbol following the numerals and using a decimal comma instead of a point (for example 10,50€ instead of €10.50).
Discover the Lithuanian Euro
In all countries in the eurozone, local banks work with the European Central Bank to produce the local currency.
One euro is made up of 100 cents. Euro coins come in eight denominations of one, two, five, ten, 20, and 50 cents as well as €1, and €2.
Euro banknotes are available as €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500. The larger banknotes are rare so you may find that some merchants refuse to accept them.
Parts of the euro currency are standardised across the eurozone, including all banknotes and one side of the euro coins.
But each country is charged with designing a national side to show the diversity of the eurozone. All coins, regardless of their origin, are accepted throughout the eurozone.
Lithuanian euro coins feature the coat of arms of the Republic of Lithuania, which is a knight riding on a horse with its sword raised.
Using a Currency Converter
The euro is a floating currency, with its value influenced daily by factors such as supply and demand of the currency, economic policies, and political events both regionally and globally.
Our foreign currency converter below will show you the mid-market exchange rate - the midway point between the buy and sell rate. This is the ‘truest’ rate you’ll find (the one shown on Google and XE).
Use this tool to get a real-time rate of AUD to EUR and find out how much it will cost you to buy euros with S Money.
How to Exchange Currency in Lithuania
Exchanging your currency on arrival in Lithuania is an easy and convenient option. Yet it’s still a good idea to research your best option to find out how you can save money in the exchange.
ATMs in Lithuania
It’s easy to find 24-hour ATMs in Lithuania because they’re everywhere. Even in the smallest towns, there should be at least one ATM.
Most ATMs will accept Visa and Mastercard, along with Cirrus and Maestro. If you have an American Express card, look out for Citadele ATMs, which are the only ones that will accept it.
Lithuanian ATMs tend to issue high denominations so if you need smaller notes, request a specific amount such as €140.
Thankfully, most Lithuanian ATM providers don’t charge fees and those that do will display the amount to be charged before giving you the option to continue.
Even if you’re not charged an ATM fee, you may still end up paying fees to your home bank for overseas ATM withdrawals and foreign currency conversions.
Also, look out for an ATM service that offers to directly convert your withdrawal into your home currency. Though it seems convenient, this service actually provides poor value for money. It’s better to choose to be charged in the local currency and let your bank deal with the exchange rate.
Currency Exchange Outlets
Another option is to bring your home currency to Lithuania and exchange it at a local bank or exchange office.
Try to avoid exchange offices in areas with high tourist traffic, such as airports or hotels. These places have a captive market so they tend to charge higher commissions or poor exchange rates.
Once upon a time, we considered travellers cheques a godsend, providing security while allowing us to carry big amounts of money with us overseas.
These days, travellers cheques are all but useless. In Lithuania, you’ll struggle to find a bank willing to change them and almost no businesses will accept them as direct payment.
Even if they did, travellers cheques have abysmal exchange rates, making it far more alluring just to stick to cash currency exchanges or ATM withdrawals.
Buying Lithuania’s Currency Before You Go
If you’re looking for value, add ‘buy currency’ to your travel planning list and secure your euros before you leave home. This also frees up your time to explore Lithuania.
There are three ways to buy euros from home:
- Buying euros online to be delivered or for you to pick up in-store.
- Swapping AUD for EUR at a currency exchange store.
- Buying euros at the airport.
Since Australian airport exchange bureaus are among the most expensive in the world, it’s not a good idea to leave your currency exchange until the last minute.
Instead, get the most value by jumping online. Online currency exchange retailers like S Money can offer the real mid-market exchange rates you see on Google or XE.
If you still prefer to exchange currency at a bricks-and-mortar bureau, head to one in the CBD as suburban outlets don’t usually offer the best deals.
Using Your Bank Card in Lithuania
These days, everybody travels with a bank card of some sort – but the value you get from your card all depends on the type of card you use and the issuer you choose.
Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly accepted debit and credit cards in Lithuania, especially in the capital Vilnius. In smaller villages and at local markets, cash payment is always preferred.
If you choose to use your debit card overseas, just beware of any fees or charges your home bank may impose. These fees might cover ATM withdrawals, overseas transactions, and currency conversions.
Some cards that offer more competitive rates and lower (or even no) fees include:
Lithuania is adapting to plastic money, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble using a Visa or Mastercard credit card in the bigger cities.
American Express isn’t as widely acknowledged and you may only be able to use them in bigger businesses.
Pay attention to the fees you may incur by using your credit card overseas. These could include cash advance fees for ATM withdrawals, international transaction fees, and overseas ATM withdrawal charges.
Prepaid Travel Cards
Prepaid travel cards work by letting you load up in the currency of your choice and lock in the exchange rate.
Though you avoid some fees for spending in a foreign currency, you might end up squandering those savings on other charges, such as reload fees and inactivity fees. Travel cards also usually apply ATM withdrawal fees.
Not only this, it can often take days for your currency to actually load onto your card, leaving you potentially cash-strapped.
If you still like the idea of locking in the exchange rate, both the Revolut and TransferWise debit cards come with currency loading options.
The Average Cost to Travel Around Lithuania
The travel planning stage can be both exciting and a little stressful, especially if you’re trying to figure out a budget.
To help you cost out your trip, here are just some of the average costs you’re likely to encounter on your travels:
A room in a guesthouse
Two-course meal at a nice restaurant
A pint of beer
A city transport ticket
Entrance to a museum
Leftover Euros at the End of Your Trip? What to Do with That Unused Cash
It’s annoying returning from a trip with a wad of foreign cash but there are plenty of ways to dispose of these unwanted coins and notes:
- Your airline might distribute envelopes for currency collection to donate to charities (check out Qantas’s Change for Good program with UNICEF).
- Australian international airports often have collection boxes for unwanted currency, which is donated to charity.
- Drop off your currency at any branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which then gives every cent to UNICEF.
- Change your currency either at the airport or, better yet, with a money changer in the city.
- Why not hold onto those euros for a friend just heading off? It’ll be a lovely surprise and going away gift for them!
- Keep your money for later trips to Europe. The euro is the official legal currency of 19 eurozone countries and accepted by many more.
7 Travel Money Tips for Trips to Lithuania
Many tourists waste money through not finding the best ways to exchange their currency.
To help you avoid this predicament, here are a few practical tips to help you get the most bang for your … euro:
- Avoid the airports! Currency exchange bureaus at the airport charge epic fees. If you like a good deal – or even just a reasonable one – avoid these at all costs.
- Only carry what you need – It can be expensive to change euros back into AUDs so only take what you think you’ll spend. Not only this – nobody likes to tuck wads of notes into their socks and toiletries for safekeeping on longer journeys.
- Ask for a mix of denominations – Make it easy on yourself and the vendors by getting a mix of smaller notes.
- Check your exchange rate – Google and XE.com are the standard market exchange rate but you’ll notice how wildly bank and currency exchanges can vary their rates. Try to get as close to the market rate as possible.
- Look out for hidden fees – The bane of our (financial) existence, hidden fees will often make a huge difference to the cost of your holiday. Be particularly wary of hidden bank fees for overseas card usage.
- The right card makes all the difference – Having a card is convenient but it can take a hit to the bank account if you have the wrong card. Research and arm yourself with the best card for travel for big savings.
- Mix it up! Many travellers only use their credit card while some only think about cash. But the best option depends on your situation. Save the card for huge purchases such as hotels and car hire and reserve your cash for smaller wins – transport, attractions, or meals out.